Bonum Certa Men Certa

EPO Rumours About Antonio Campinos as Replacement for Benoît Battistelli

Antonio Campinos: potential EPO reformer or more of the same?

Antonio Campinos



Summary: Information about the man who is rumoured to be parachuted in to replace Battistelli and continue some of his less desirable legacy

Later this week the Administrative Council of the EPO (Organisation) will be gathering to speak about the Office, so I took a whole week off work (just so that I can properly cover the outcome). We have been receiving various EPO rumours recently, some easier to substantiate than others. Today we wish to share a particular strand of rumours. It's about Battistelli's succession, or rather his replacement (succession implies graceful transition without effective change in policy/direction).



"It's about Battistelli's succession, or rather his replacement (succession implies graceful transition without effective change in policy/direction)."We have already published many articles about Christoph Ernst [1, 2, 3, 4] and in particular his stance on software patents (which is of special interest to us). Scroll down to the part about Christoph Ernst in this post about the last Administrative Council meeting to see what he said about Battistelli

The relevant part is this:

To paraphrase Mr. Ernst, the Head of the German delegation (to the best of my knowledge): “The president reports positive developments. I do not share this view.[...] The president has spoken 40 minutes, of which only 2 minutes on the social situation.”


That was 3 months ago and things have changed a lot, particularly in light of the Board 28 intervention with its leaked letter and leaked conclusions.

“A competent "outsider" with a credible track-record would probably be more acceptable to EPO staff but at the moment no such candidates are visible.”
      --Anonymous
We now believe -- albeit with great caution -- that we know about another candidate for Battistelli's position (EPO presidency). "To try and sort out the current mess at the EPO," one person told us, "you would probably need someone of mythical proportions like Hercules. As can be seen from the names which are currently being bandied about, any prospective candidates are likely to come from the "inner circle" of the Administrative Council. The problem here is that the Administrative Council is or at least appears to have been so heavily complicit in the activities of the current "regime" for so long now that all of its members are potentially "tainted".

"In reality, the Administrative Council is a diverse body and there are undoubtedly some people there who have been critical of Battistelli's misdeeds and excesses. So it's probably a little unfair to tar all its members with the same brush. But the point is that EPO staff are likely to be understandably sceptical about any successor to Battistelli who comes from the ranks of the Administrative Council."

It is worth noting here that even Battistelli himself came from the Administrative Council, where he's alleged to have been one of the (perhaps) two "alpha-males" who pushed Brimelow out, paving the way to Battistelli's 'takeover' with a secretive contract (Brimelow's contract wasn't secret). We wrote about this several times last year.

“During his time as President of the Directive Council of the Portugese National Institute of Industrial Property (INPI), Campinos also sat on the Administrative Council of the EPO.”
      --Anonymous
"A competent "outsider" with a credible track-record would probably be more acceptable to EPO staff but at the moment no such candidates are visible," a person told us. "Another name that we [collectively speaking] are starting to hear with increasing frequency as a potential replacement for Battistelli is that of the current President of OHIM: António Campinos. We [collectively speaking] are bit sceptical about Campinos because from what we [collectively speaking] have been able to gather he is another "insider" who also seems to have close connections to Battistelli and other members of the "inner circle". Some information about Campinos follows."

Suffice to say, this serves to legitimise claims that Campinos is in the rumour mill (we heard this before), if not a contender too. We kindly ask readers to treat this as coverage of the state of rumours, not necessarily of any concrete discussions, e.g. at the Administrative Council or Board 28. "Campinos is currently being mentioned as a possible replacement for Battistelli," told us one source, "but so far these are only rumours."

More background information about Campinos



As noted above, studying the background of potential future presidents is better off done before an appointment/announcement as this can leave room for veto power/opposition. Remember the bizarre, undemocratic, opaque process by which Battistelli inherited (if not stole) Brimelow's position. We wrote about this before. Here is what a reader told us about Campinos:



António Campinos is the current President of the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (Trade Marks and Designs).

OHIM is basically the "European Trademark Office".

However, in contrast to the EPO, it is not an autonomous international organisation.

It is an EU agency entrusted with managing EU trade mark and design registration systems as well as promoting cooperation and convergence initiatives with national IP offices in the European Union.

For more information see the official website.




Campinos has been President of the OHIM since 2010.

He previously held the roles of IP Commissioner and President of the Directive Council of the National Institute of Industrial Property (INPI) of Portugal and Chairman of the Ad Hoc working group on the Legal Development of the Madrid System for the International Registration of Marks.

From 2005 to 2007, he was head of the Portuguese delegation to OHIM’s Administrative Board, becoming Chairman in 2007, prior to his election as President. Since 2013, Mr Campinos has also served as President of the Administrative Council of the Centre d’Études Internationales de la Propiété Intellectuelle (CEIPI).

SOURCE: https://www.epo.org/learning-events/european-inventor/jury.html

During his time as President of the Directive Council of the Portugese National Institute of Industrial Property (INPI), Campinos also sat on the Administrative Council of the EPO.




There is regular cross-contact between the OHIM and the EPO in the field of IP and Campinos often features in press releases with Battistelli or appears at the same IP events.

For example:

2011 - EPO and OHIM agree closer cooperation

https://www.epo.org/news-issues/news/2011/20110504.html

December 05, 2013 - IP contribution study unveiled in Brussels

https://oami.europa.eu/ohimportal/sl/web/observatory/news?p_p_id=csnews_WAR_csnewsportlet&p_p_lifecycle=0&p_p_state=normal&p_p_mode=view&p_p_col_id=column-1&p_p_col_count=2&journalId=520482&journalRelatedId=manual/

Official Launch of New EU-China Intellectual Property Cooperation

"Building on the solid foundations created by the previous EU-China projects IPR1 and IPR2, the a new action will be implemented over a period of three years by OHIM, the EU€´s largest intellectual property agency, in partnership the European Patent Office as partner. On the Chinese side will be the Department of Treaty and Law of the Ministry of Commerce, coordinating the Chinese contribution to the cooperation action, with the participation of more than 15 Chinese IP authorities."

http://www.ag-ip-news.com/news.aspx?id=31995&lang=en

Training Centre for European patent judges opened in Budapest

https://www.unified-patent-court.org/news/training-centre-european-patent-judges-opened-budapest

There isn't necessarily anything suspicious about any of this.

It can be seen as part and parcel of routine professional contacts between the Directors of two intergovernmental European IP bodies.

However, it should be noticed that Campinos seems to have quite a cosy relationship with the EPO because he managed to get appointed as a jury member for the European Inventor Award which is one of Battistelli's favourite annual extravaganzas.

European Inventor Award - Jury members

https://www.epo.org/learning-events/european-inventor/jury.html




It has been discovered that there is an even more interesting connection which involves the Menéndez Pelayo International University (UIMP) in Spain.

A key player here seems to be the former Director of the Spanish Intellectual Property Office and current EPO Vice-President, Alberto Casado Casado Cerviño who as people may recall got a mention in an article published in a Spanish newspaper last year:

http://www.elconfidencial.com/economia/2015-11-26/suicidios-espionaje-nepotismo-la-oficina-europea-de-patentes-es-un-polvorin_1107057/

What is interesting here is that Casado Cerviño, Battistelli and Campinos regularly appear as guest speakers at IP seminars organised by the UIMP.

http://www.uimp.es/agenda-link.html?id_actividad=62I9&anyaca=2015-16

[Editor's note: we have decided to locally store the PDFs proving it [1, 2], including an English version, as these may become unavailable in the future]

These connections seem to go back to at least 2011 when Casado Cerviño was still Director of the Spanish Intellectual Property Office and a member of the Administrative Council and they have continued after his appointment as EPO Vice-President (see the attached PDFs).

Casado Cerviño was appointed as EPO Vice-President in 2012:

https://www.epo.org/news-issues/news/2012/20120905_de.html

By a curious coincidence, Battistelli was awarded with an honorary doctorate from the UIMP in July 2014:

http://www.uimp.es/institucional/doctorado-honoris-causa.html

Maybe Spanish contacts/readers can provide more information about these connections.




In his role as President of the OHIM, Campinos regularly meets with the Directors of national Intellectual Property Offices.

Some interesting photos can be found on the websites of these national Intellectual Property Offices.

For example:

http://www.dziv.hr/en/news/memorandum-of-understanding-signed-between-ohim-and-the-office-%28sipo%29,55.html

One can guess that Campinos was not amused to see this photo re-appear in an article entitled "Criminal proceedings pending against Topić in six cases" which was published by the Croatian news portal tjedno.hr in April 2012:

http://www.tjedno.hr/protiv-topia-se-vodi-est-postupaka/

That's not suggesting that Campinos had any involvement in the alleged irregularities at the SIPO Croatia but we guess that it must have embarrassing for him to have his official photograph with Topic "recycled" in an article reporting about these matters.


An English translation of this article will be published at a later date.

Campinos and Battistelli: more information about EPO & OHIM cooperation



According to a 2010 article from James Nurton (MIP), Campinos won praises from WIPO. "At WIPO," Nurton noted, "he won plaudits for his ability to encourage parties with different priorities to reach consensus." Remember that Battistelli nearly became head of WIPO, which is now deep/mired in scandals of its own and may have other EPO connections. "Campinos was interviewed by Managing IP [MIP] in 2008," Nurton concluded.

A reader added some bits to elaborate on/comment about possible overlaps between Campinos and Battistelli:

In 2013 EPO and OHIM jointly launched a Report on the economic performance of IP-intensive industries in the EU.

The report was subsequently criticised by Annette Kur and Dietmar Harhoff of the Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition: "In September 2013, EPO and OHIM jointly launched a Report on the economic performance of IP-intensive industries in the EU. Ever since its publication, the Report has been cited as bearing proof to the economic importance of IP, thereby bolstering claims for further enforcement-enhancing measures and policies. However, the eagerness with which the Report is instrumentalized for political purposes ignores the fact that, as the economists performing the study themselves have emphasized, their findings do not provide evidence regarding the causal relationship between IP and the economic data. Instead of serving a better understanding of the economics of IP, such politically tainted over-interpretations might actually discredit the analytical results and the advances in setting up a comprehensive database of IPR utilization at the firm level."

See also this article published by IP Watch, "Researchers Say EPO/OHIM Study Is A Tale Without A Message"

A PDF of the EPO/OHIM report bears the signatures of Battistelli and Campinos.




Based on information coming from reliable sources who are close to the action, Campinos seems to be the preferred successor candidate of the Battistelli-Kongstad axis inside the Administrative Council.

It has also been suggested that he may have political support at EU level.

Apparently some people in Brussels are getting worried that the current turbulent situation at the EPO could have an adverse effect on the planned timetable for the introduction of the Unitary Patent. In these circles it seems that Campinos is viewed as someone who could be parachuted in to stabilise the situation at the EPO.

If Battistelli's position inside the EPO is so weakened that he is forced to depart prematurely, the "game plan" in these circles seems to be to install Campinos as a "safe pair of hands" who can be trusted to manage any fallout arising from the sudden "regime change".

It also seems that those supporting Campinos on the Administrative Council (i.e the pro-Battistelli faction led by Kongstad) are hoping that he can be relied upon to keep as many skeletons as possible from the Battistelli era safely in their closets.


A copy of the critique by Annette Kur and Dietmar Harhoff has been made local for future reference and long-term preservation. It responds to a report signed both by Battistelli and Campinos.

The notion that Battistelli would need to be thrown aside while maintaining his agenda isn't totally outlandish. As this one comment put it this morning, EPO policies may be "the very same ones where the TTIP was "negotiated". [...] pump for the UPC." Here is the comment in full:

I do not for one moment believe that it was the management of the EPO who decided anything. They are only the obedient "implementers" and certainly not the master strategists.

The "decisions" are more likely to have been made behind closed doors in some smoke-filled rooms in Brussels or elsewhere. Maybe the very same ones where the TTIP was "negotiated".

Don't forget: lots of "dodgy patents" increases the probability of litigation and could be seen as a handy way of priming the pump for the UPC.

In this context some senior appointments at the EPO in recent years might be worth a closer investigation. Such as: http://www.managingip.com/Article/3016676/Moves-Margot-Frhlinger-joins-EPO.html


This relates to what we wrote about last night and responds to a comment quoted therein.

In summary, Antonio Campinos has a history of being on the side of Battistelli, whereas Christoph Ernst has an (at least recent) history of criticising Battistelli.

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